5-Step Guide to Choosing Between Native and Cross-Platform Development

With 80% of data traffic predicted to come from smartphones by 2020, having a mobile strategy is no longer an option for business owners. However, the choice of technologies and approaches to mobile development is currently wider than ever, which makes the right decision yet more difficult to make.

Most of the materials about mobile development options are quite confusing and lack objectivity. With that in mind, we created an unbiased 5-steps guide to choosing the most suitable approach for your next project.

Step 1: Specify Your Timeframe and Budget

Cross-platform development lets you save up to 50% of time and expenses by engaging one team to code for different operating systems. With porting costs to be about a 50% to 70% increment of the original app development budget, it is obviously better to choose this approach. In the long run, you benefit from maintaining a single code-base and keeping your product up to date with simultaneous upgrades across all platforms.

Step 2: Mind the Available Resources

On the other hand, iOS and Android have the largest developer communities, which means that the native approach offers a wider choice of accessible resources.

Step 3: Define the Required Level of Performance

Cross-platform apps usually tend to be less responsive and productive: they are usually slower and their interactions are not so smooth. While the recent research shows that 83% of the users see flawless user experience across all devices as somewhat or very important, this approach works fine only for simple apps with basic design. However, technologies are evolving fast to bridge this gap, so that might change soon.

Step 4: Consider Hardware Usage

Cross-platform tools use third-party plugins to access the hardware capabilities. Such add-ons often cover only the most widely used features like Bluetooth or camera. To use them in a non-standard way or work with more specific device capabilities, you will need to create a custom plugin. However, the reliability of such plugins is still a big question. Being open source projects, the plugins are supported by individual developers, so you cannot expect the latest compatibility and excellent performance.

Step 5: Know Your Market

On other markets, Germany for example, we see a clear dominance of Android OS with 75.2% of smartphones running on it as of August 2015. In this case, a more thoughtful approach would be to create a native app for one platform to start with.

The Answer Lies in the Product Itself

If you are targeting a wider public and depend on the software performance, or you have a complex app concept that involves the use of hardware, the best option is native development. It can save you from repetitive investment in the product, needed to keep up with the market competition in the future.

To read more about mobile development technologies, download our recent whitepaper “Pros & Cons of Native vs Cross-Platform Mobile Development with Xamarin“ here.

You can find the original at AltexSoft’s blog: “5-Step Guide to Choosing Between Native and Cross-Platform Development”.

Being a Technology & Solution Consulting company, AltexSoft co-builds technology products to help companies accelerate growth.

Being a Technology & Solution Consulting company, AltexSoft co-builds technology products to help companies accelerate growth.